On Thursday, 18 November 2021, Ndawedwa Hanghuwo, Natasha Uys, Pauline Ndhlovu, and Namafu Amutse were announced as the 2021 Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards winners at a ceremony hosted in Windhoek.
Hanghuwo won the fiction category for “Silhouette”. Hanghuwo’s work, said the judging panel, showcases confidence and a compelling voice; the twist in this wonderful short story is a bonus that exhibits his writing acumen and willingness to push beyond the boundaries of the ordinary. Hanghuwo is a Namibian writer, studying at the Namibia University of Science and Technology towards a degree in English Literature.
Uys’ “Ouma Sofie’s Gold” was crowned as the winner in the nonfiction category. The Nonfiction shortlisted presented the judges with writing dealing with complex themes of identity and memory. Uys’s “Ouma Sophie’s Gold”—a poignant and exemplary nonfiction writing was unanimously selected by the judges. Uys is a journalist and editor from Windhoek, Namibia. She is currently studying Media Management through the Sol Plaatje Institute at Rhodes University.
Ndhlovu’s “Green and Greening” poetry piece was announced as the best in this category. The judges said that the poetry section was difficult to decide because individual interpretations of the shortlisted works led each judge to separate conclusions about potential winners. However, they decided that the pandemic – its disruptive effects on people’s lives – found resonant poetic articulation in Ndhlovu’s “Green and Greening. Ndhlovu is a Zimbabwean-born Namibian curator and writer whose work explores the themes of land, memory, healing, time, and senescence.
Amutse’s “Chrysalis” walked away as the winner in the visual art category. “Chrysalis” was a captivating exploration of emergence. Hinting at the possibilities change presents, the judges shared that Amutse’s work was both sweeping and metamorphic – a creative vision of things, people, time, places, and worlds beyond this one. Amutse is a filmmaker, photographer, art director, and writer from Swakopmund, Namibia. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Education Honours degree in English and German at the University of Namibia (UNAM).
The Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards – first announced in April 2021 – recognise Namibian writers, poets, and visual artists who produce resonant fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. Published in Doek! Literary Magazine, these literary artists add their unique voices to the country’s emerging literary community. Sponsored by Bank Windhoek, the Awards seek to recognise their literary talent and amplify their works to new audiences at home and abroad.
In her keynote address Bank Windhoek’s Executive Officer Marketing and Corporate Communication Services, Jacquiline Pack, said that the Bank has the history of being a staunch supporter of arts in Namibia. She added that the Bank is proud, for the first time, to celebrate and award Namibian English fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual arts. “We firmly believe in giving back to the communities in which we operate and supporting the causes that truly make a difference at grassroots level, where community is strongest, and where common values and experience dominate and bind.”
Pack concluded by congratulating the participants and encouraging them to keep on working to make their mark in Namibian and African literature. The next edition of the Bank Windhoek Doek Literary Awards will take place in 2023.